Now Facebook won’t just know it’s you — it’ll tell you about the photo, too.
Facebook is expanding its use of facial recognition technology and will now alert people that a friend, or a friend of a friend, uploaded a photo of them, even if they haven’t been tagged in the picture.
A group photo uploaded to Facebook.
If anyone uploads a profile picture that includes your face, Facebook will alert you of that, too. “We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook,” the company wrote on its blog Tuesday.
The point of all this, according to Facebook, is to offer better privacy settings for people who use the service. It’s nice to know that your cousin just uploaded an embarrassing photo of you, for example, even if you aren’t tagged in it.
But ensuring that users can’t impersonate someone else in their profile photo is also important in Facebook’s fight against so-called fake news. Alerting someone that another person is using their photo could result in better policing of inauthentic accounts.
There’s another interesting element to Tuesday’s update: Facebook is changing its settings to make it easier for the company to add more facial recognition features down the line.
Instead of asking users to give Facebook permission to use facial recognition for tagging purposes, which is what the company asks for now, users will now be asked to grant Facebook permission to use facial recognition broadly across the service. So agreeing to the use of facial recognition for tagging now gives Facebook permission to use facial recognition for other products and features, too. That might come in handy if Facebook ever decides to roll out account recovery using facial recognition, or other products in that vein.
The new Facebook photo alerts will begin rolling out on Tuesday. You may see notices explaining the change show up in your News Feed over the next few weeks.